White tie, black tie, black tie optional and formal are sometimes printed on your invitation. What does it take to dress for these affairs? I will explain it and offer up a few tips for finding what you will need to wear to those swank events without breaking the bank.
White Tie is the fanciest & swankest of them all. Think Golden Globes and state dinners. There is really not a lot of leeway here.
For men it’s a black tailcoat, bow tie, and patent shoes. For women it is floor length gown, fancy jewelry and a manicured hair do. Opera gloves optional.
Black Tie~ This invitation is still a very fancy event and requires either a tuxedo complete with bow tie, a floor length gown or longish cocktail dress. No gloves requird.
If you have nothing to wear to either of these events consider a dress from Rent the Runway.
Black Tie Optional or Semi-Formal~This used to mean dresses only for women and dark suits for mean. However, nowadays women can feel comfortable attending this type of function in a dark suit as well.
Sleek separates like dress pants and skirts fit right in! Just be sure they are in a lux fabric.For men it means suit and tie and that is nonnegotiable! If you are short on cash and have nothing to wear take a look at what 2nd hand stores have to offer in upscale neighborhoods.
Cocktail Attire~A suit and tie for men and for women it’s a dress or nice separates. This is the perfect party for your LBD!
If you really have nothing to wear ask to borrow something from a friend because that is what friends are for.
Dressy Casual~This one is tricky because of the word casual. This does not mean you can show up in jeans and sneakers! For women: opt for dress pants, or a skirt with a dressy top. Flats or heels—it’s really your call. Men: Wear trousers and a dress shirt with loafers or oxfords. it’s that simple!